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(RNS) Stephen Mansfield, an evangelical author on the faith of politicians, has turned his attention to Mormons in his latest book, “The Mormonizing of America.” By Adelle M. Banks.

1 Comment

  1. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    If Mr. Mansfield were more familiar with the body of the revelations received by Joseph Smith, he would have recognized that God had also condemned Joseph Smith for his failings, as he did in Doctrine & Covenants Section 3:

    4 For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

    5 Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments; and remember also the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.

    6 And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.

    7 For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God.

    The fact that Emma Smith on one occasion might also be warned (Doctrine & Covenants Section 132) of the strictness of God’s commandments and expectations simply places her in the same company as Joseph, as one to whom much has been entrusted and much is therefore expected. On another occasion, when Joseph has been suffering unjustly from imprisonment and under threat of summary execution by the Missouri militia, his suffering is placed into perspective by God (Doctrine & Covenants 122):

    5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

    6 If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

    7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.

    8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

    The Lord has also admonished ordinary members of the Church to repent of their sins, under threat of dire suffering if they refuse (Doctrine & Covenants 19):

    15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

    16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

    17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

    18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

    Note here that Christ is recounting that he has already suffered excruciating pain on behalf of each of us, so nothing he proposes to condemn a person for is something he has not already fully suffered with and for them,.